Content Marketing

Single-Tasking Tools

Douglas Karr must have been tapping into my brain when he wrote How to Single-Task. I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole multi-tasking thing, about how constant hopping from tidbit to tidbit and doing more than one task at once feels like it’s actually robbing me of time (and making me feel kind of stupid). When I’m writing reports, blog posts or strategy documents, I let the flotsam and jetsam of my MacBook Pro’s dock and screen distract me a tad too much.

Just yesterday, my fellow Certified Brand Strategist, Brant Kelsey, showed me two productivity tools designed to allow a person to focus long term on just one thing. Imagine that. Productivity tools that encourage long-term attention on a single task instead of pushing the ever popular go-go-go agenda. Interested? Mac users, check out these applications:

main-screen WriteRoom – distraction free writing environment

This application turns turns your entire screen into a simple interface that hides all other visuals and blocks pop up reminders and chat windows. If you like to type your notes at events, WriteRoom would be a great way to keep you from maniacally clicking through your email, Twitter account, Facebook and all those other little distractions that might keep you from concentrating on the information being delivered.

Spirited Away – automatic hiding of inactive applications

Spirited Away does what its name says. Just adjust settings to your liking and the application works in the background to hide inactive application windows. I think of it like having a housekeeper picking up the crumbled papers and putting the books back on the shelf while you work on your reports.

When you’re taking Douglas’s advice to block out a few hours Monday to focus on a single project, maybe you can use one of these tools.

Update: WordPress now has a fullscreen mode that allows you to write without all the administrative clutter!

Adam Small

Adam Small is the CEO of AgentSauce, a full-featured, automated real estate marketing platform integrated with direct mail, email, SMS, mobile apps, social media, CRM, and MLS.

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  1. I do not need a tool for single tasking, just a bit of discipline. Turn off or do not turn on these disturbing applications when you want to focus on a single task. It is simple and it works for me especially when I have to write a presentation or a blog post or a paper. And by the way productivity goes up when you do single tasking.

    You do not need to worry that your environment will notice it if you use a time sharing, allocating time slots for a specific task and when doing only this. This was how computers were programmed in the olds days when whole enterprises had only one expensive computer available. Users still had the impression that is was just working for them. The trick was just to choose the time intervals so that the response time is adequate to create this impression with the individual. As we have only one brain, this seems a good algorithm to schedule my tasks.

  2. I'm so glad that I found this post! 😀 I have focusing issues due to my adhd and when I'm online I'm all over the place. More than a few apps and no less than a dozen tabs open. Being a software junkie I've managed to find more than a few programs to help with time management, organization and productivity. I also take advantage firefox addons for tabs, bookmarking and such.

    Here are a few that I use…
    -TooManyTabs (save as many tabs as you want to a selected row, unlimited rows)
    -TabFocus (point to any tab and tab opens)
    -InstaClick (rt click any url and it opens in another tab-also works in gmail but not Thunderbird)
    -RemoveTabs (closes tabs to the left, right)
    -AddThis (rt click and adds any url to a number of social sites—great for tweeting)

    Thanks for the very useful and informative content. I'm a new subscriber and follower!


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